May 25, 2012

Fuel/Friends Chapel Session #16 :: Tyler Lyle

I’ve always had this metaphorical soft underbelly where the scales never grew, which feels far too vulnerable at times; I’m sensitive to the flicker of dark clouds across the eyes of those that I love, wanting to intuit out all the discord and weave it back together into something whole. With each year that passes, I realize more how the wounds and the brokenness and the bruises sometimes, most times, have to just be sat with while they knit themselves back together. Or they don’t. Often they don’t. This has been The One Thing I have been faced with learning in the past four years and, with heightened intensity, in the past six months or so. I am still trying to believe in hope and magic, as much as I can, with a flimsy protective coating. Some people are beetles that can survive an emotional nuclear attack. I’m more like a naked mole rat.

That oblique introduction is directly related to Tyler Lyle, because in meeting him and punctuating the last year of my life with his music and now his friendship, I’ve seen a fellow naked mole rat (sorrry Tyler, not my finest allegory). Tyler believes boldly in hope, choosing his eyes wide open and his heart half-broken every time, as he sings in one of his new songs. This chapel session is a sweet one, but the kind of sweetness that is rooted in sadness, and the smoldering under the ash.

Tyler’s self-released record The Golden Age and The Silver Girl was one of my favorite records of last year, and the night after this session was recorded, he performed at my house (a highlight of all my concerts thus far). I wrote a lot of words and feelings about it here; it still leaves me feeling radiant to remember.

Tyler indicated recently that he is working on 44 new songs (two of which you can hear over here, that I have not stopped listening to since March), and I want to hear the other 42. This kid leaves me with my jaw dropped with every song he writes, and I can’t stop telling people about him with a missionary fervor.

I have a feeling about this one.

MARCH 3, 2012

Free (I Am)
I was in NYC in March, and I spent one sunny Sunday afternoon walking loops through Prospect Park listening to this song on mega-repeat and singing along when no one was around (and sometimes, even when they were). This is a brave and beautiful new tune that cements Tyler’s standing in my mind as a potential major songwriter in my pantheon of great songwriters. There is no artifice in this folk song, only extraordinarily bold hope despite the entropy all around us.

Personally in my last few transformative months, I’ve claimed this song as an anthem of removing the fish-hooks of detrimental love from your heart and swimming off into the glittering water. “Not afraid of giving you all my love, and I’m not afraid to say goodbye.

When I Say That I Love You
This song’s probably the most perfect summation ever penned of looking back at that one hot, pure young love that grabbed you and shook you before you knew what to do with such a torrent. There is no other feeling like that, and it’s a feeling that dissipates so quickly as we get older and develop scar tissue around all the soft parts and spaces.

This song remembers. Another year, another ring around my bones.

(and: that violin? It’s like a river that’s almost too much to bear. Sitting on the edge of stage when this was recorded, I just perched there and cried. Because I remembered, too.)

For Love To Come…
There’s a strong thread of melancholy that weaves its way through all the songs on Tyler’s record last year (because it’s a breakup record, all the songs about one Silver Girl). This song traces a theme that he’s explored in a few different places: the fact that we have to unclench our tight, white-knuckled fists before we can move on, even though stepping into that neutral liminal zone of nothingness can be terrifying. I haven’t minded doing it this year as much, with this soundtrack. “Sometimes for love to come, love has to go.” Also, the harmonies on this one are really something.

Closer To Me
At the outset, this song sounds the cheeriest of the session — an effervescent strum, an exhortation to come closer. But then I notice near-sinister undertones to the song which reminds me of the subject matter of Josh Ritter’s “The Curse” – “Come closer, closer, closer to me / I am a loaded gun, you are a symphony / …past those warning signs, out into the sea.” I hear it as wanting to love someone and being worried that your love might be corrosive (“I got a heart with holes, it don’t keep much heat“). Maybe I’m just glum. In any case: I also love the very Paul-Simonesque whistling at the end.

These Days (Jackson Browne)
Whoa, this cover is the gut-shot: one of the most penetrating covers I have ever, ever heard. Where the version I first heard, recorded by Nico, is all German alienation and that oddly-endearing frigidity, Tyler’s version pulses pure and gold in all that sadness. The fatal, exquisite line in this recording is: “Oh I had a lover, I don’t think I’d risk another these days …it’s just that I’ve been losing / …for so long.” Blammo.

I also, detrimentally, never realized this song was written by Jackson Browne. That just goes to show, yet again, that all the best stuff is probably by Brownes.


[Audio, as usual, by the fantastic guys at Blank Tape Records. Church interior photo by Kevin Ihle]


  • The Jackson Browne These Days on For Everyman also is stunning, and far outshines the Nico version.

    EliMcQ — May 25, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  • Simply amazing.

    Josh — May 25, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  • not only was “these days” written by the great jackson browne, but it was written by jackson browne when he was only 16. 16!!!!!

    erin — May 25, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

  • These Days is one of my all time favorite songs by ANY artist, but if you want the very best Jackson Browne album, try “Late For The Sky”. It came out a year after For Everyman and is jaw-droppingly beautiful from start to finish. The song “For a Dancer” is truly heart-wrenching.

    Betsy — May 26, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  • I’ve come here nearly a dozen times to leave a comment about how incredible this session is–how it might be my favorite one thus far–and then, as I try to put it all into words, I press play again and get completely lost in the music, which I suppose is commentary on its own.


    pecola — May 27, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  • [...] Lyle: Fuel/Friends Chapel session [mp3] search for more Tyler Lyle posts at Largehearted [...]

    Largehearted Boy: Daily Downloads (Meat Puppets, Over the Rhine, and more) — May 28, 2012 @ 7:59 am

  • [...] Friday was unofficially Tyler Lyle Internet Christmas. Heather over at Fuel/Friends posted an absolutely gorgeous Chapel Session with Tyler (and wrote, in my opinion, some of her [...]

    Monday Links | songsfortheday — May 28, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  • Gregg Allman also has an incredible cover of this song. all harmonies, pedal steel and melancholy.

    jayd — May 28, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  • Thanks, Heather. Did not know him. Will check out more. He really shines in this setting. Love this series. For me, Iain Matthews did the ultimate cover of These Days on Valley Hi. Tyler does a great job as well. And his own work is beautiful.

    Roy — May 29, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  • I am still in a trance.

    Vera — May 29, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  • [...] doesn’t mind my reposting it, but please do yourself the solid of picking up the whole session right over here. And get The Golden Age and The Silver Girl right here. Just remember: everything in [...]

    [mp3] Tyler Lyle // These Days (Jackson Browne/Nico Cover) (Live) | Tympanogram – Test Your Music — July 2, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  • Searched the entire interwebs for the proper lyrics to Tyler Lyle’s ‘On Parry Sound’ to no avail… Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

    Christopher E — December 6, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  • [...] Tyler’s incredible Fuel/Friends Chapel Session, which you need to go get right this very moment if you haven’t already) Share [...]

    ‘These Days’ (Jackson Browne cover)- Tyler Lyle | songsfortheday — December 16, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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